By Alton Mitchell
Many of LaFayette’s youth have been busy over their summer breaks enjoying the outdoors and the time away from the classroom. However a group of LaFayette youth spent a week of their summer break embarking on a new adventure and learning the ropes as to what it takes to protect LaFayette. On Friday a group of more than thirty LaFayette youth were recognized for their efforts and graduated from the week long LaFayette youth police academy sponsored by the LaFayette Police Department.
On Friday a group of thirty five brave youth were recognized in the gymnasium of J.P. Powell School in LaFayette. After a week filled with strenuous exercises and activities each cadet was bestowed with honors from members of the LaFayette Police Department to include; Chief Ben Hill, Lt. George Rampey, Lt. Chris Trice, Sgt. Quantavious Lockhart, and Officer Danny Williams.
This year’s youth police academy was something that local officials were very pleased with. Chief Hill stated that it appeared to be one of the best years the program has had and the use of J. P. Powell School made it even better this year.
In the past LaFayette youth in the program have enjoyed a wide array of activities and this year was no different. The youth who participated in the 2017 program enjoyed a week of activities the included meeting the S.W.A.T team, watching a helicopter landing, a visit from the K-9 unit, and a trip to the zoo to top it all off.
“I liked it a lot it was very interesting and fun. We did a lot of fun things. We went to the zoo and got to do drunk driving,” explained Austin Vines one of the youth who participated in this year’s program. His mother Angela Vines close by young Austin promises that he will never drink and drive.
In addition to representatives from the police department bestowing honors on the thirty six graduating youth city officials including Mayor Barry Moody, Councilman Toney Thomas, and Councilman Neal McCurdy were all on hand to show their honors to the youth of LaFayette as well. Officials with the police department acknowledge that the program would not be possible or a success without the assistance and support of LaFayette’s local government.
The class had some unique features this year as well. The original graduation was set for only 35 graduates however a young man by the name of Jordan Rampey was able to tag along and became an honorary cadet to raise this year’s class count to thirty six cadets.
Several honors were also bestowed on some of the top cadets. The cadets were divided into four squads and Faith Barker earned top squad leader for the class of 2017. The top female cadet went to Jada Robinson, and the top male cade went to Matthew Holmes. LaFayette police officers also thanked the parents who got up each morning and got their young cadets to the program for their eight hour day of training as police officers. In the end the efforts of those cadets showed as Officer Danny Williams called the four squads together for one more time at attention before dismissing the class back into the arms of their parents to enjoy the remainder of their summer break.
The graduating class of 2017 is as follows: